Mo Lam Bank denies involvement in the burning of a portrait of King Rama X in Khon Kaen

Mo Lam Bank denies involvement in the burning of a portrait of King Rama 10 in Khon Kaen, confirms that he’s been in the care of the court 

By Atithep Chanthet

Patiwat Saraiyam, or Mo Lam Bank, went to Khon Kaen City Police Station to declare his innocence on September 15 (yesterday) in the case of a burning of the king’s portrait. Following the incident, Patiwat said he felt threatened as unspecified authorities called his close friends to inquire about his behavior. A public portrait of King Rama X was burned in front of Srinakarin Hospital in the middle of the night on September 13, 2021.

“I assure you that I am not involved at all. I have obeyed all of the court’s orders,” said Patiwat. “There’s no way for me to have violated the court orders… I have been keeping quiet. There was only a trip to keep an appointment with the court in Bangkok.”

A security guard at the Srinakarin Hospital tries to douse the fire burning a portrait of King Rama X in the early morning of September 14th, 2021. 

Since the incident, the police have not been able to find the perpetrator. Patiwat said that the police have been harassing student activists and political activists who have in the past called for reform of the monarchy. Some critics, including Patiwat, have been charged for violating Section 112 of the criminal code which bans defaming the royal family. 

Patiwat stood in front of the police station building while some police officers observed.

After the fire was put out, officials moved the burned portrait to a safe place and cleaned up the area. 

Patiwat has also been charged for “sedition,” Section 116, for his participation in the “19 September Reclaiming People’s Power” rally at Sanam Luang in Bangkok, on September 19-20, 2020. He was held in jail after the court refused to grant bail on March 9 earlier this year. Patiwat was released on April 9 on the condition that he refrain from criticizing the monarchy.

Patiwat was convicted of Section 112 in 2014 after the military seized power. After spending two and a half years in prison, he joined the monkhood for a time before returning to his trade as a mo lam singer in the Northeast. He joined anti-government protests that began last year.

Earlier this month, Patiwat and several leaders were present in court for hearings on September 7. The next hearing is scheduled for December 2, 3, and 14 later this year.

Read Thai version here